Monday, April 5, 1943

The Charlotte News

Monday, April 5, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports of the largest raid yet of the war on Naples and the first originating from North Africa. Five previous raids on Naples had originated from the Middle East. Nearly a hundred Flying Fortresses attacked the Italian port, striking 21 ships, three submarines, and assorted other vessels, with all raiders returning without mishap. As well, twenty-one planes had been hit at nearby Capodichino airbase.

The raiders indicated that the Italians did not retaliate. One New Yorker, Sgt. E. R. Denadio, whose mother had been born in Naples, told cryptically the entire story, perhaps, of the migration over time to America and its assimilative impact on the individual American, when, after his 17th successful bombing mission, he said simply, “My whole family is hell against the Axis.”

General Patton's Army II Corps fought successfully to obtain hills near the Gafsa-Gabes Road and then beat back a counter-attack by Rommel's forces. The Army II Corps was now within 40 miles of the Eighth Army of General Montgomery.

Rommel, himself, meanwhile, was reported to have gone to southern Italy. The succinct dispatch did not clarify whether the visit was a permanent retreat from Tunisia to plan the defensive strategy for Sardinia, Sicily and the mainland coast of Italy, or whether he intended to return to the front lines in Tunisia.

A photograph shows General Jurgen von Arnim congratulating a Nazi "shock troop" for his work in Tunisia. The Nazi looks to be in awe of the General.

In the northern sector of Tunisia, at Medjez-El-Bab, the British First Army waged a heavy mortar duel against Axis infantry guns.

The night before, RAF bombers raided the German seaport and shipbuilding center at Kiel, the first raid on the city since October 13. The raid followed by a night another heavy raid on the Krupp Works at Essen--where the Germans were now eating paper, Baumwollen papier.

During the previous afternoon, American Flying Fortresses had pounded the Renault Works outside Paris.

Nazi-controlled broadcasters in Paris claimed that the raiders had hit civilian centers, residences and sports fields, describing the bombing as a "terror raid", injuring more than a thousand people, 200 of whom, seriously.

Marshal Petain personally had bitterly attacked this raid. Precisely what he said, however, again, as with the editorial page on Saturday, was rendered somewhat crosswise in its exeunt from the machine's focal plane platform, out the gate to the east, as we forged ahead with a bit too much celerity for some unknown reason on these last couple of dates. Or, maybe the machine just got carried away momentarily.

From Algiers came report that French political prisoners, except those behind bars as Axis sympathizers or as common criminals, were to be released.

General Eisenhower had asked General De Gaulle to postpone his visit to North Africa for an unstated amount of time and for undisclosed reasons.

It appeared, given the attack on Renault, that Louis was gradually losing his friendship with Monsieur Rick. Or, was he?

For the nonce, Signor Ferrari was safe at least in northern central Italy at Maranello, as he continued, no doubt, to tend Rick's, in absentia, on the Moroccan coast.

In Russia, north and south of Izyum, 70 miles southeast of Kharkov, Russian troops were staving off German advances to the bridgeheads on the Donets River. The forces to the south, under General Nikolai Vatutin, had secured the bridgeheads in that sector utilizing equipment captured from the Germans during the Donets drive. In consequence, the report indicates, chances were improved that the Russians would not have their communications lines severed by the thawing of the river, overflowing its banks, thus swamping and impeding operations in the area, as in the previous spring. (We read that for you sideways, tilting over into the thawing river.)

New meat price ceilings, varying by region of the country, were announced by OPA, set to become effective April 15, joining the pork ceilings already in effect since April 1. A list of local ceilings is presented, enabling for instance, on your 16 points of meat rationing coupons per week per person, your allotment of three and a fifth pounds of burger for $1.05, or your alternative two pounds of sirloin for a mere 96 cents.

That is, if you shopped at small stores with less than $250,000 in sales annually. If your preference was one of the larger chains, such as A & P, you would pay no more than $1.02 for your 16 points of ground beef, or 92 cents for your per week per person quota of steak. Step right up, lay your money, takes your chances with your choices and learn to live leaner with what you have, friend. And, put down that baby food. That is not for you.

California retailers were complaining over shortage of beer supplies. The government responded that rationing of beer at reductions of between 15 and 25 percent had to be undertaken in order to fulfill supplies of beer to soldiers.

Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau announced an intention to establish that which would in July, 1944 become the International Monetary Fund, to regulate the value of gold, establishing again the gold standard for most nations of the world, in order to stabilize the value of international currencies.

And, Bolivia had determined that it was in their best interests to declare war on the Axis.

As for the rest, Mr. Fields, at last report, was utilizing a small snake to try to read it, and, with some degree of discerningly perspicacious wisdom, to translate it for Senator Reynolds and Congressman Cooley.

We, ourselves, are still trying to figure out why a small snake must be carried, together with whiskey, in case of snake bite. Perhaps, it’s for the antivenin. But, why should it therefore be specified as a small one? We are still cogitating on the matter.

On the editorial page, "Army Day" recognizes the day in honor of the Army by counseling that, after the war, a standing, well-trained Army would be a necessity to honor continued peace.

A filler then follows with regard to the Quartermaster Corps having established the proper specifications for die to be given soldiers.

Snake eyes too many times in a row and a shooting match in the barracks might otherwise erupt.

Was the "sarge", to whom they refer in the punch, SSgt. "Fatso" Judson?

"The Chisels" remarks with disapproval of the reported practice by some in the country, since the point system went into effect with respect to meat and certain other foods, of eating baby food at one point per can, or jar, or whatever mode of container in which it came in those days. OPA had denounced the practice as chiseling by people who did not need baby food, inconsiderate of babies who did. And so, too, did The News.

Well, when you consider it, how would one baby, deprived by a bunch of adults of his or her daily ration of slightly in excess of two points worth of baby food, two of those little bitty jars per diem, with two extras on the weekends, only being allowed 16 points per week, then find nourishment, in lieu thereof, from a couple of pounds per week of steak or three and a fifth pounds of burger? You would have a lot of wailing babies across the land. And that would be no good at all, even if probably beneficial to the Gerber stock prices.

Shame on those baby food eaters. The News recommended the works for them. We take that to mean treason, and therefore the death penalty. Well, why not? You were going to die in the war anyway.

Somehow, though, it seems to link up with "Play Time" to suggest another of those strange adjustments being suggested by people across the country in this time of war.

"The Revolt" sides with the President's veto of the Bankhead bill, to exclude farm subsidy payments in calculation of farm profits to establish ceilings on farm products to meet parity. The President had the previous week vetoed the bill as unduly inflationary. The Congress was now about trying to muster the two-thirds majority necessary to override the veto, likely in the Senate, less likely in the more urban representation of the House. The editorial finds the Congress, and specifically the Farm Bloc, to be disserving of the broader interests of the country in so doing.

The little baby chickadees, we glean, might bank their little baby heads off the ceilings of the eggs, just like a bank shot in the old clockwork orange routine, and bust right on out the top of the shell in a Hatch, causing inflation to explode like a mushroom boiled in a pressure cooker too long--sort of akin to the bird egg, or snake egg, or whatever sort of egg it was, which exploded in our face that time in our sandbox when we were little tyros and we, not knowing precisely what the opaque rock we had discovered was, squeezed it. The President had to keep those little baby chicks down on the farm, safe from the Dies Committee, so that they wouldn't inflate by the time they got to the store and make a mess of the gold standard worldwide, causing the necessity of a reversion to the silver standard and trickle-down economics. For if that were to happen, everybody's cruise ship would be torpedoed, causing them to be set adrift in the wilder seas aboard a lifeboat with nothing left to do but to use their Cartiers for bait, trying to separate the minnows from the whales in the heavy water, being chased the while by the albatross, having thrown the baby chicks out with their bathwater.

A letter to the editor from Randolph Paul, General Counsel to the U. S. Treasury, takes issue with a News editorial, "Wrong Number", appearing March 10. He seeks to set the record straight on certain facts and opinions he found misstated. The News, however, sticks by its previous argument, that the Administration's stated opposition to the Ruml tax forgiveness plan was not well justified and that the proposed plan by the Administration of sharply graduated income taxes was a ploy which would ultimately work adversely to impact the ordinary taxpayer for its negative influence on investment and thus employment.

But, in this time of war, with industries consumed with government contracts, limited in their potential for profit by their terms, overseen and checked by the War Production Board, was it not the case that Mr. Paul was correct and The News, seemingly positing its economic theory on more normal times, missing a few points? Was the Ruml Plan not, as Mr. Paul contended, one, by its design, which would cost the government considerable revenue by forgiving a year’s taxes, more top-heavy therefore naturally in its benefits to the wealthy paying the bulk of the taxes than to the ordinary taxpayer, both in its collective amount not paid in taxes and its percentage of income not lost individually in consequence of the forgiveness?

Raymond Clapper writes of the dangerously paradoxical notion of having a food conference of the United Nations--a prelude to other such conferences to establish the groundwork for post-war cooperation in various fields of endeavor, and to insure realization of the Four Freedoms--, with the press shut out of the picture by the President, as had been announced would be the case, with the conference to be held in secret without press admittance. Mr. Clapper finds this blackout wholly unacceptable with respect to a conference which would not involve strategic war planning. He asks rhetorically what would next fall under the axe of censorship should this precedent be accepted by the press. He marshals, in favor of the openness of the meeting, the fact that OWI, the government's official propaganda office, itself, often used editorial columns from established columnists in the country to send abroad as press releases, that if journalists were prohibited from this conference, a valuable resource for dissemination of information across the world stage would be pretermitted.

Samuel Grafton's piece can be best summed up with this old, well-known campaign commercial from 1964. (We say "well-known" with perhaps ill-advised temerity, having recently come to realize in just the last couple of days, obviously having been elsewhere apparently at the time and not paying too close attention to the tv, that just a couple of years ago, the former deputy press secretary for the previous Administration was not aware, and so admitted, re the import or substance of the Cuban Missile Crisis, after being asked a question about its relevance to current events at a White House press conference. We hope that we helped to fill the void then back in fall, 2007, however unwitting our offering was to the emergent exiguity of the time.)

Just to fulfill our continuing responsibilities at elucidation of the excessively complex for those still in need of remedial history, the big blast, that being the grey mushroom-shaped formation resembling a large, suddenly appearing cloud in the background there in the commercial, is that of an atomic bomb--which is the result of nuclear fishin' off the merry-go-round. And the flower, that being the object held by the little girl in her hand, is a daisy, with several petals attached--that being the result of a pollinator, such as a bee, moving the pollen from a pollinizer to a pollinatee. The reason for the count in the background is that it was coincident with the countdown of liftoffs, those being the result of sudden ignition of rocket motors on Redstone, Atlas, or, later, Saturn rockets, at the time occurring at Cape Kennedy in the Gemini program over there at N.A.S.A., still unmanned, however, in fall, 1964, nevertheless, utilizing the same countdown to which the country had become accustomed during the manned part of the Mercury program before it. But, we lived through all of that and so we understand.

Cuba, by the way, is a small island in the Caribbean, about 90 miles from Miami. Its leader until January 1, 1959 was Jose Jimenez. The Sans Souci nightclub used to be there in those days, in Havana, operating with the blessings of the United States and frequented by many Americans going to Cuba for various nefarious reasons. But we lived through all of that and so we understand.

From Everett, Massachusetts--probably named for former Massachusetts Governor Edward Everett, who provided the long and little remembered speech preceding Abraham Lincoln's better remembered two-minute soliloquy at the consecration of the burial ground at Gettysburg, November 19, 1863--, a piece is reprinted which recounts the evils betrayed of Morganton by Tom Jimison. It looks about the country to find other examples equal in their outrage to humanity. It suggests Massachusetts as not being without a fouled nest itself, albeit one, it says, run with enough competence generally to weed out quickly the incompetents when their faces were shown, implying thereby that North Carolina, instead, tended to see and hear no evil, to let the incompetents alone, a sort of live and let live attitude toward incompetence.

The piece then, however, proceeds to betray the Catch-22 in the ointment, by relating that a former patient, a judge, had left the Massachusetts mental hospital complaining of routine censorship of the mail. It had been discovered that the staff would not allow any sort of criticism of the institution to leak.

We could not part the day, incidentally, without informing of the fact that just a few hours ago, we stepped into our garage and heard a rustling sound where no rustlers ought to have been. We perceived that the causative agent for the rustling sound was larger than a mouse and that, since we had no rats, it was most likely a kitty trapped inside, that deduction made by quickly joining with our first observation the memory from two days ago, as we awoke to the sounds of some foreign meow somewhere about the house. But, at that earlier point in time, we quickly resolved the matter as simply some misinterpreted communication from some other point in time or place, probably an echo of the past, or at least some dream of the moment not recalled. And so we dismissed it as such and fell back asleep, promptly forgetting all about it.

So, we opened the garage door, the same which, a few months ago, possessed on its handle a grasshopper, and gently summoned the kitty, to which there came no response, either further rustling or meows or anything else. We hoped then that the kitty had not expired and that the rustle had not been its last gasp of desperation before keeling over into the time indefinite.

But, we stood aside outside the door for a moment and suddenly out darted the kitty, perhaps minus one of its lives.

We had thought, given the appearance on Saturday of Mr. Fields, that it would probably be a black kitty. But, it was, in fact, a gray one which we had inadvertently held captive for a couple of days.

At least it was gray when it departed the garage; perhaps when it entered, it had been black.

We don't know on what it subsisted during those days of captivity, for there is no food, per se, in the garage.

There are, however, books in there. Maybe it got an education during the two days. We don't think that there are any books, however, which would be particularly cat-worthy. But you never know. These cats are clever these days. There are probably some Dr. Seuss volumes back there somewhere with which the kitty might have entertained itself. We know that there are some Hardy Boys volumes, but they weren't our own, for we never read them. We'll have to check up on it in a couple of days and see what the cat was doing back there. Whatever it was, we hope that it had a good time. It certainly was quiet about it.

Oh, by the way, congratulations to Duke. We had thought that Butler did it. Now, we know the answer to the mystery. It was a good run for Butler, who had never gotten to the final rounds before in its history, and, with just one little bump off the glass there at the end, might have had a storybook finale, right out of the movie.

Perhaps, the cat, or the bunny, or whatever it was, didn't quite get that far in the book, back in the garage there, before its departure for the wild again. Sorry, Butler; if we had thought about it, we might not have released the cat at halftime, as we did.

Oh, that doesn't suggest that we have anything at all against Duke, mind you. We are happy that they won.

We don't think that we predicted this one, but you never know. It may yet prove itself. Actually, we had thought Kentucky would be the one this year, but not so.

The Spartans did well again, too. So did the Mountaineers, even if it was their first trip to the final games in a long while, since 1959, in fact.

In any event, we're still trying to figure out how it was that Dayton beat our school back in 1967 and deprived it of the chance to obtain the crown on the tenth anniversary of our school's first official national championship. We still gnash teeth about it from time to time in fact. Had us down in a terrible state for days afterward. One day, maybe, we shall figure that out.

Anyway, a tree probably grows this night in Brooklyn, over by Madison Square; if not there, more than likely somewhere in Indiana, Kansas, Los Angeles, or along Tobacco Road--somewhere.

We should add that we have come up with a possible solution for the dilemma of the N.C.A.A. expanding the tournament to 96 teams, threatening thereby to end the viability of the N.I.T. After the first round, with seeds 33 to 64 vying against 65 through 96, the losers would play out the N.I.T., starting two days later. That way, the best of the past is preserved and even enhanced, with fairness and equality to all. Also, next year, efforts should be made to have all teams travel via electricity or other non-fossil fuels.

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